Front Row

BJ The Chicago Kid, Live In Concert

For a few years now, BJ The Chicago Kid has been the answer when rappers known for taking their pound of flesh need a little help baring their souls — from Freddie "Gangsta" Gibbs to Top Dawg Entertainment's reluctant industry darlings, Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q. BJ's instrument is ragged on the edges and nearly perfectly translates the hard times he's often tapped to sing about — but he wields it in such a way that they're smooth going down. That old-soul voice was on full display in his set at NPR Music's show during CMJ.

A master role player, BJ switches from seducer to truth-teller to jilted lover and back again during this performance. With a flexible band — featuring an especially stunning guitarist, Jairus "J. Mo" Mozee — bending to his every inflection, BJ performed tracks from his debut album, 2012's Pineapple Now-Laters, and dipped into new singles, including the buttery, swoon-worthy "Soul Of A Woman."

The highlight came at the very end, when he tackled an almost 15-year-old song that still draws an immediate reaction out of even the most recalcitrant concert-goer: D'Angelo's "Untitled (How Does It Feel)." Many singers won't touch it, as the original recording is indelible. But BJ does it again and again, differently each time, and always tip-toeing a little further away from the past and closer to himself.

Set List

  • "Sex x Money x Sneakers"
  • "Free"
  • "Good Luv'n"
  • "Soul Of A Woman"
  • "Studio" (ScHoolboy Q)
  • "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" (D'Angelo)
Personnel

• BJ The Chicago Kid, vocals

• Richard "Scooter" Sledge, drums

• Jairus "J. Mo" Mozee, guitar

• Eric "El" Ingram, bass

Credits

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Otis Hart; Event Manager: Saidah Blount; Audio Engineers: Richie Clarke, Kevin Wait; Videographers: Rachel Counce, Colin Marshall, Susan Hale Thomas; Host: Frannie Kelley; Special Thanks: Squarespace, (Le) Poisson Rouge; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann

[+] read more[-] less

More From R&B/Soul

Lizzo performs during NPR Music's 2017 SXSW Showcase at Stubb's. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

SXSW Music Festival

Lizzo Was 'Good As Hell' At Our SXSW Showcase

The Texas-born, Minneapolis-based powerhouse Lizzo came with her "Big Girls" to Stubb's this year — and brought a surprising cover song along for the ride.

Gallant (center) collaborates with Korean musicians Tablo (left) and Eric Nam on the new song "Cave Me In." Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

All Songs TV

Gallant Goes Global In New Song, 'Cave Me In'

The fast-rising R&B singer meets Eric Nam and Tablo, themselves both stars in South Korea, on the nighttime streets of Hong Kong in this new video.

Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles perform live at the Woods Stage at Pickathon 2016. Bruce Ely/Courtesy of Pickathon hide caption

toggle caption Bruce Ely/Courtesy of Pickathon

All Songs TV

Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles, 'Why Don't Cha / Get Up' (Live)

opbmusic.org

The versatile organist, pianist and synth player, known for his work with Snarky Puppy, performs "Why Don't Cha / Get Up" live at the Woods Stage with his band.

Corinne Bailey Rae in her video for "Hey, I Won't Break Your Heart." Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

All Songs TV

First Watch: Corinne Bailey Rae, 'Hey, I Won't Break Your Heart'

In her new circus-themed video for a song about rebuilding trust, Rae gazes directly into the camera, challenging our protective masks just as she lets her own guard fall.

Back To Top